Such are the scenes at the annual spaghetti dinner hosted by Friedens United Church of Christ, 8300 S. Meridian St.
Launched in the 1970s and organized by Barbara Lucky for several decades, the event saw its demise in the late 1990s before Susie Engelau resurrected it in 2010.
Engelau has been determined to ensure that this just isn’t another spaghetti dinner.
The uniqueness starts with chef Ted Wade and his wife, Judy, who create gourmet sauces and healthy salads. The Wades own Fed by Ted, a catering service.
A team of 20-25 volunteers unite each year for fun and hard work in coordinating the meal. They transform the church’s community center into an Italian restaurant complete with checkered table cloths, a candlelight atmosphere and Italian dinner music.
Another standout feature is the service, says Engelau, who noted that youths attired in white shirts and black slacks have been trained to wait on the guests. Maitre d’ Steve Cambridge, owner of Indy Shades, will don a tux T-shirt while enthusiastically directing the wait staff.
“We provide a real restaurant experience and high-quality food,” said Engelau, whose operational efficiency comes from owning Inspire Results Business Advising. “By paying attention to detail, it is a dining event you can count on every year. “Each year we document what went well and what we can improve for the next year.”
When it comes to dessert, guests serve themselves from a long table of pies, cakes and other treats made by church members.
The cost is $5 per child under age 12, $8 per adult, with tickets available at the door. This year’s meal will be served from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 8. Proceeds will benefit the church’s missions trips and an aspiring evangelist from the Dominican Republic.